Deutsche Welthungerhilfe e. V. – or Welthungerhilfe (German for World Hunger Aid) for short – is a German non-denominational and politically independent, non-profit-making and non-governmental aid agency working in the field of development cooperation and emergency relief aid. Since it was founded in 1962, it has used about 2.84 billion euros to carry out more than 7733 aid projects in 70 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Welthungerhilfe holds the seal of approval of the Deutsches Zentralinstitut für soziale Fragen (DZI). In 2014, Welthungerhilfe and the aid organization World Vision International were announced the most transparent German organizations. In 2012, Welthungerhilfe celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Welthungerhilfe has set itself the goal of banishing famine and poverty from the world. Following the basic principle of help towards self-help, it works together with local partner organisations to support the efforts of people in developing countries to free themselves from hunger and poverty and to provide for themselves on a sustainable basis.
Welthungerhilfe was founded in 1962, as the German Committee of the Freedom from Hunger Campaign, on the initiative of the then Federal President of Germany, Heinrich Lübke. It formed the German section of the Freedom from Hunger Campaign, which was brought into being in 1961 by Binay Ranjan Sen, the Director-General of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In 1967 the organisation's name was changed to Deutsche Welthungerhilfe e. V.
Since it was founded its patron has been the respective current Federal President of Germany. In 2008 the registered association gave itself a new management structure. Bärbel Dieckmann, who was at that time the mayor of Bonn, became Welthungerhilfe's Chairperson in November 2008; her deputy is the German politician and scientist, Prof. Klaus Töpfer. Her predecessor as chairman of the Board of Directors was Ingeborg Schäuble, who held the position for twelve years. In organisational terms the registered association is managed by an honorary Supervisory Board of seven members which appoints a three-member executive Board of Directors.
Despite a rapid increase in the amount of private donations from the general public (2015: 50.2 Millionen euros), Welthungerhilfe continues to finance the majority of its work from public grants (2015: 158.9 Millionen euros). The largest public donor organisations are the EU Commission, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP). Apart from those main sources, income is received through "Foundation Welthungerhilfe" (2015: 0.8 Millionen euros) and "Interest and other income" (2015: 4.5 Millionen euros). In 2015, Welthungerhilfe spent 2.2% of its income on administration, a further 4.3 % was spent on advertising and public relations work.
As well as direct disaster aid, Welthungerhilfe chiefly provides support for people in developing countries in the fields of rural development and food security. In addition, projects are carried out for restoring basic infrastructure (schools, roads, etc.), and for social integration and education, strengthening civil society, and health care.
In Germany and Europe Welthungerhilfe is working together with other organisations on a critique of current development policies, and by doing so it is bringing influence to bear on government bodies. For example, together with the children's charity, terre des hommes, it regularly publishes a Report on the Reality of Development Aid. Welthungerhilfe is a member of VENRO, the Association of German Development non-governmental Organisations. Together with the Alliance2015 network, an association of seven European aid organisations, it carries out political lobbying work at the European level. It also promotes the up-to-date treatment of development politics topics in teaching in schools by providing a series of its own materials, and it provides a range of participative campaigns. Volunteer helpers assist Welthungerhilfe with fundraising events for the aid projects.
Since 2006, Welthungerhilfe, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and - since 2007- Concern Worldwide have been publishing the annual Global Hunger Index every October.
In 2014, the analysis institute Phineo conducted a study on transparency and examined 50 aid agencies in different categories. The research showed the level of transparency of the information provided by the organizations about their strategies, activities and impact. Welthungerhilfe documents its work transparently on its website and was named as the most transparent organization in Germany in December 2014, alongside World Vision.